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Hold it down, please.

Wednesday, 23 September, 2009

As the twentieth century dawned, popular music as we comprehend the idea today was in its infancy. Waxing and waning since before Shakespeare, formal popular entertainment would prove a permanent fixture in Western Civilization. Significantly, African-influenced syncopation permanently altered the evolution. Three categories came into existence, Classical, Folk, and Popular. There is more than a little crossover. These categories are endlessly subdivided with new categories presenting themselves more quickly than casual observers can cope.

The rhythms of Sousa, Joplin and Berlin were castigated by the aficionados of what became known as “Classical” music.

Those raised on the sounds of march and ragtime, made no sense of the hot rhythms and informality of jazz and the big bands.

The big-band fans decried the crudeness of rock-and-roll music.

The generation of the Motown Sound and The Beatles condemned a later rock-oriented generation.  “Music” which represented either an attempt to damage electrical instruments while they were still plugged in or the infuriating simplicity of a bleep-bloop-bleep variety made possible by needlessly new technology. In this era, the riff, as opposed to the tune, was the thing.

This is kinda where I come in. I once thought I might be better than this. I am not.

As a member of the generation that created and allegedly made sense of especially simple music, I am shocked the current generation of popular music is as comprehensible as Metal Machine Music would to a student of Irving Berlin. All I hear are two guys fighting over a parking space in close proximity to more than two overloaded washing machines.

In other words, it’s too loud and I’m too old. Not a bad feeling, actually.

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